South Africa (Springboks) and England renewed their rivalry this past weekend when the two sides met on Saturday. The rugby match took place in London at Twickenham stadium. Both sides came into the match with high expectations, although for different reasons. The Springboks were riding high off the back of an emphatic victory over Italy, with the contest finishing63 - 21 in favour of the Springboks. England, on the other hand, were in a boisterous mood after they came from behind to salvage a draw against New Zealand, a tie that ended 25 - 25.
The match had a tentative start, with both sides missing their opportunities from the kicking tee. Once the opening phase of the game was out of the way, it was the Springboks who settled into the match first. South Africa took the lead with a try on the wing, scored by the in-form Kurt-Lee Arendse. England responded by converting a penalty to cut the deficit. However, that was not enough as South Africa took the ascendancy crossing over for their second try, through veteran lock EbenEtzebeth to see South Africa take a commanding lead into the halftime break.
The second half was a quiet affair as the Springboks continued to pull ahead by kicking over 4 penalties. However, it was not all plain sailing for the Springboks as they had to play the last stretch of the game a man down, after replacement prop Thomas du Toit was sent off for a dangerous tackle. This gave England a chance to try and get back into the game, as they finally scored a try with Henry Slade dotting down. Even after going a man down, South Africa recorded a comfortable victory, as the match finished 13 - 27 in favour of the visitors.
This was the second time the two sides had met since their 2019 World Cup showdown in Japan, which also ended with South Africa winning. However, last year England got their revenge recording a resounding win at Twickenham; however, they could not repeat the same heroics this time around.
England coach Eddie Jones voiced his disappointment with the result, accrediting the loss to a lack of consistency. He stated, “We need to develop consistently. Test match rugby is all about consistency”. With the Rugby World Cup due to take place in France next year, the English find themselves running out of time. The same cannot be said about South Africa who are rather, looking for their players to stay injury-free, which has not been the case throughout the year. Although the side had a mixed bag of results, they can rest easy knowing that they are far from full strength. However, this will all change when Lukhanyo Am, Duane Vermeulen, Cheslin Kolbe, and others are back and available.
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